13/07/2016 - 13:52

High-risk work licence assessor fined

13/07/2016 - 13:52

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A former Choice Industrial Training employee has been fined nearly $2,300 after being found guilty of falsely assessing candidates for high-risk work licences.

High-risk work licence assessor fined

A former Choice Industrial Training employee has been fined nearly $2,300 after being found guilty of falsely assessing candidates for high-risk work licences.

Cornelius Van Luxemborg pleaded guilty to six charges and was fined $1,800 in the Fremantle Magistrates Court last month.

He will also have to pay about $490 in costs.

Mr Van Luxemborg was employed at Bibra Lake-based Choice, now closed down, in 2014 when WorksSafe undertook an audit of the company’s registered assessors.

WorkSafe found that Mr Van Luxemborg was not assessing high-risk work licence candidates in line with the assessment instrument, or complying with the relevant legislation.

He was issued with a warning and advised that he would be audited again six months later.

When WorkSafe returned to audit him again, it was found Mr Van Luxemborg was still not complying with his duties.

WorkSafe WA commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case should serve as a warning to all registered WorkSafe assessors that failing to properly conduct assessments can result in prosecution and the recording of a criminal conviction.

“When the details of Mr Van Luxemborg’s breaches were discovered, a hearing was held to give him the opportunity to respond to the allegations,” Mr McCulloch said. 

“The hearing resulted in cancellation of Mr Van Luxemborg’s registration as an assessor.

“The resulting prosecution action is evidence of how seriously WorkSafe takes any non-compliance with the duties of a high-risk work licence assessor.”

Mr McCulloch said Magistrate Lawrence emphasised the importance of ensuring that those teaching workers who would go onto risky sites actually taught those workers properly.

“The magistrate warned against becoming a ‘tick and flick culture’ when it came to training,” he said.

“It is vitally important to ensure that high risk work licences are only issued to workers who have been appropriately trained and have the skills to perform high risk work safely and competently.

“The loud and clear message is that any assessor who takes shortcuts or breaches his duties in any way will be subject to legal action that will likely result in a criminal record.”

Mr Van Luxemborg’s conviction follows an audit of registered training organisations specialising in high-risk work licences in May by the Training Accreditation Council, which found an alarmingly high level of non-compliance with regulatory standards.

The audit was undertaken in response to industry concerns that training and assessment practices weren’t vigorous enough to give industry confidence in training and assessment outcomes.

In its report, the TAC found that only 30 per cent of those audited were fully compliant with industry standards, while 70 per cent were non-compliant.

Of those that were found to be non-compliant, 35 per cent were found to be significantly or critically non-compliant.

Following that, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia launched a pilot training framework in collaboration with resources giants BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Shell and Woodside Petroleum.

The framework will verify work competency of high risk workers, including scaffolders, working within the resources sector, and will remove the need for workers to have their competency assessed each time they visit a different site in Western Australia.

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